motoebuddyshotsenglish500
Handheld Devices

Hands on with Motorola's feature phone slayer, the Moto E

Motorola Mobility's Moto E doesn't cost much, but it works well and doesn't look cheap.

The Moto E was launched Tuesday and costs US$129 without a contract. Motorola's goal is to convince users who still have a basic feature phone that they can now afford a smartphone.

For that price, you can't get anything but a smartphone with basic specifications. The Moto E is powered by a dual-core processor running at 1.2GHz and has a 4.3-inch screen with a 960 by 540 pixel resolution, which doesn't feel like a big compromise at that size.

To make the spec last, Motorola has made a couple of smart decisions. One is that the company hasn't weighed down the phone's performance with a lot of its own additions to Android. Instead, the Moto E uses the operating system's standard user interface. That helps make the phone feel snappy even though it doesn't have a powerful processor. To help improve performance, Motorola equipped the Moto E with 1GB of RAM, which isn't a standard in this product category.

The only obvious things Motorola has done to save money are to skip a front camera and LTE. Owners will also have to make do with a 5-megapixel camera and 4GB of integrated storage. The company makes up for the latter with a microSD card slot.

Another thing I like with the Moto E is that it has an FM radio. In this age of streaming music services, that may seem like an anachronism. However, users who buy the phone will likely have a small data allowance that they might not want to blow on Spotify. So with an FM radio they can still listen to music while on the go.

For those with a slightly larger budget, the Moto G has been upgraded with LTE and a MicroSD card slot. It costs from $219, which is still a good value. For users who don't want to sign a contract and pay over $650 for a smartphone, the Moto E and Moto G LTE are both good choices.

What I would like to see Motorola do next is develop an affordable smartphone with a bigger screen and compete with products like Samsung's Galaxy Mega family, with phones that have 5.8-inch or 6.3-inch screens. Interestingly, the screen on the Galaxy Mega 5.8 has the same resolution as the one on the Moto E.

The low-end segment of the smartphone market where the Moto E and the Moto G fit is going to become increasingly competitive, so the big winners will be consumers around the world who will be getting a lot more bang for their smartphone buck.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« NetSuite looks to stay relevant with revamped HTML5 user interface

NEXT ARTICLE

Varidesk Single: This sit-stand desk has a few ergonomic issues »
author_image
IDG News Service

The IDG News Service is the world's leading daily source of global IT news, commentary and editorial resources. The News Service distributes content to IDG's more than 300 IT publications in more than 60 countries.

  • Mail

Recommended for You

International Women's Day: We've come a long way, but there's still an awfully long way to go

Charlotte Trueman takes a diverse look at today’s tech landscape.

Trump's trade war and the FANG bubble: Good news for Latin America?

Lewis Page gets down to business across global tech

20 Red-Hot, Pre-IPO companies to watch in 2019 B2B tech - Part 1

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?